FRINGE

Spin the Bottle

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: merely addressing P&O drinking problem ;)

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PART 1

Olivia hailed him from across the bar. She was wearing her usual blending signature pant suit and sporting the same pony tail she used to when in the fields, a clear indication that she did not have time to go back to her place to change into more casual clothes, had she any. Peter had dreamt of a day that she would act the way she was expected, -dressing in a less formal way, that is. He acknowledged her rigid position on the stool and her weary face.

"Hey, sorry I'm late," he cheered.

Her hand flew over the table in a very familiar gesture and she shook her head. He noticed that her brow was furrowed. Her body language was clearly betraying her tonight. Too many hours chasing bad guys and struggling in front of a computer, that's what it does to you.

"No sweat, I was only here minutes ago." Her voice even, she showed him the opposite stool with her hand. He blatantly ignored it and stood still before her.

"Where is your car? I figured that you'd park right in front. Isn't it what your fancy prerogatives at the Bureau are all about?" he teased her, sitting on the next stool instead.

Her smile warmed up. She let her shoulders dropped and locked her eyes on him. Striped shirt under a black wool zipped sweater, black jeans, ankle boots. He signalled to the bartender and two extra beers materialized on their table.

"No, not tonight. Don't shoot me for anticipating our demise."

"Shoot you? Last time I checked you were the one with the gun!"

"I mean… I thought that our usual MO is to get as smashed as humanly possible within our three hour drinking time and…"

"And you're right there will be no designated driver in the end."

She nodded and took a large gulp of the fresh beer in front of her. "Exactly."

"Why's that the only thing we actually do together is to get drunk?"

Her eyes widened and her back straightened. She sure didn't expect his frontal pun.

"What?"

"I mean I'm all for having a good time with a friend but is it all we're entitled to? Who decided that in our two buddies go out and have drinks and exchange confidences plan the exchange confidences part was left out of the picture?"

She froze. He brushed her arm lightly with a soothing hand and came closer, his mouth a dangerous distance from her face.

"I have to assume we're friends," he trailed. He was whispering. With that, he moved away from her personal space obviously pleased with himself.

"I'm not sure where you're going with this,' she snapped.

"Of course you are 'Livia, come on, indulge me."

She looked down to her glass and to her hands on the glass and opened her mouth but stayed ultimately silent.

"Please, pretty please?" he said, twinkles in his eyes.

"But you're a guy," she pleaded ultimately.

"What has it got to do with anything?"

"You're supposed to be the one who avoids confiding and keeps a distance."

"You're wrong. I like small talk and learning secrets. And you've read my file. I don't know a rat's ass about you 'Livia and it's getting old. I know more about your sister than about you and I've only met her a couple of times."

She said something between her teeth that sounded like I bet she was all girly and sexy. "Sorry, I don't do small talk," she shrugged, "or gossiping or anything along those lines."

"God! That's not what I'm talking about and you know it right? What I mean is that we've known each other for months now and you learned more about yours truly than what's in my fantasy file. Because I told you. I trust you. Why can't you?"

"Sorry, I can't do this, not today." She placed her flat hand on her forehead and closed her eyes. "I'm tired, I'm down and to be honest, I was only looking forward to spending some good time with no strings attached."

"Strings attached? Aren't you overly dramatic here Dunham? I didn't propose to you, I'm just asking for a fair exchange between two adults. That's called communication."

"And you're expecting that the truth squats at the bottom of the bottle? That's awfully dense for a genius."

"Don't you go there. You should know that I'm hopeless when it comes to relationships. But I can see you're exhausted and that you need to talk to someone if not a shrink, anybody can see that. You got some childhood memories back right? Come on Dunham, I'm not asking for full disclosure here, just let me demonstrate some compassion."

"Peter… I understand you want to help…"

"… but you're not ready yet?"

She frowned, her hand searching her dark jacket. Before she had time to answer his question, her cell phone was in her hand. "Dunham," she prompted, slightly turning away from him. Her voice got lost in the general hoo-ha.

Peter relaxed on his seat, took a sip of his drink, his eyes scanning the bar over the rim of his glass. He finally looked back at her face. She seemed more peaceful now. She slid her phone shut and turned to him.

"That was Broyles. We need to get Walter. Something odd had come up."

"Doesn't it always," he sighed. "Well, if I can't get you to open up over a drink, next time we'll spin the bottle."

She flinched. "Spin the bottle?"

"Don't worry, I won't kiss you. That was a figure of speech. If the bottle points to you, you've got to answer my question."

"Fair enough."

"Let's go Dunham, I'll take you to your car. You're not going to argue about this either, are you?"

"You drove over here? I thought you didn't have your car."

"First off, technically it's Walter's."

"And?"

"And, I was planning to get you drunk and make you spill the beans not the over way round."

"Next time I'll take my car," she said with a straight face, jumping on her feet.

He tossed a few dollars on the table and followed in her wake.

"Hey Dunham that's cheating!"

She pushed the door and glanced back. She smiled.

He was not certain why she did but he smiled back. They emerged in the street and bickered their way to the Bishop's family wagon.